Stay Sharp

Thursday, July 12, 2012

DFW (Depth of Field Wanking)

Enough already. Since tilt-shift photographer Naoki Honjo came out with his photo book "Small Planet" in 2006, the market has now produced softwares as well as modes in most new cameras where even the minions can play this "fun" streak of the mini-me world. I have tried it, looks fun I have to admit. At that time, in 2006, this was a stunning and over the imaginary realm piece of new ways to see photography. I remember seeing his book at Kinokiniya back then and thought it was brilliant. But this has already put a stamp on a certain time and in less than 5 years the "miniature" style will have an early twenty hundred chain locked in on all these images and with a smile the tilt shift wankers will try to talk around the topic, a thing if the past...that's how we did it back then. Naoki San might be the only one with a pleased smile since he was one of the few first. Admit it now, it's a fad boys. I could say a word or two about the Holga and pinholw boom as well but gracefully draw back my sharp fangs of critizism, might be rather boring hearing me rant in the favor of all anti-social elements and hack on popular stuff we all have the freedom to play with. A tilt shift lens used for what it was intended for is a fantastic piece of mechanical and optics and I have had my eyes on Canons TS E 45mm and 90mm F/2.8 lenses since they came out in 1991. See, it's not a new thing people, over 20 years on the market. I'm juggling with the thought that I would not use it enough for the price they ask for it. I would use it for architectural photography and maybe portraits to a certain degree. Still haven't got it, maybe one day.

Since you now as well can shoot video with your trusted DSLR and since you can do it with the fast F lenses (prime, not tilt-shift lens) means that even here we have a depth of field wanking of a higher class. Since the DOF (depth of field) is so small there is mainly a constant jumping between in / out of focus. Looked really cool the first 100 you tube posts but has come to look almost cheap now since you know that it started with creative and innovating young skateboarders, bmx, artists and musicians. Now Red-Bull, Mercedes Benz, Sony and most top 40 hit videos contain a slip or more of katana sharp f-stop masturbation. Same thing all over again, something is born on the streets and the big corporations tags along and make it their thing to tell us they are also young and cool…indeed. Look back on the 80's photography. Check the fashion magazines, top of the range modern publications and the Camera manufacturers year books from back then when people were trying to be funky and going full bukake with all the new 35mm film brands, using lightning with all kinds of color shit, glass panels and filters infront or around the scenes. Looked mighty fresh and cool then, now it just look cheap and tacky. Maybe just me, but I believe and trust my instinct that a strong and timeless image has just a few elements baked in the mix, simplicity and strong imagery comes from thinking outside the box, go hard on less-is-more and don't fall in the trap together with the sheep of no imagination. Be your own man. Out of 100 images I get around 5 good ones I can honestly say I am proud of and really have the right intended feel to them. Small percentage but better than 100 mediocre post-produced over the top "stunning" hallucination dream world imagery you see in most media today. I have a slight confession to make to my fellow photo peers. Here we go, I've been doing professional photography since 1999 and never used Photoshop! How's that for a fact? Don't even know how it works and I never felt I needed it so I don't. Got Adobes Lightroom back in 2004 and I remember fellow media minded folks telling me that only the true pro's use PS. Back then if you wanted to be in the club amongst the "true pro's" you'd better carry your shit in a Domke bag or two, and nothing could be screwed in your gear if it didn't have the name Manfrotto on it. Love Manfrotto (Domke not so much) but tripod less is always better. Just another example of wanking in the spotlight of a shining blind wannabe. Now Lightroom has become the benchmark of good and solid post production work and even if I don't hang in those circles anymore, I'm sure the same software uber folks are going rebel and rough with an installed Lightroom these days and swear that it's the bomb, always have been. Comedian Louis CK said once talking about FaceBook, Twitter and all the social media stuff- "we use all the new stuff since its there, it's available. You can say no you know!"

Wikipedia on Canons tilt lenses:

"Shifting allows adjusting the position of the subject in the image area without moving the camera back; it is often used to avoid convergence of parallel lines, such as when photographing a tall building. Tilting the lens relies on the Scheimpflug principle to rotate the plane of focus away from parallel to the image plane; this can be used either to have all parts of an inclined subject sharply rendered, or to restrict sharpness to a small part of a scene. Tilting the lens results in a wedge-shaped depth of field that may be a better fit to some scenes than the depth of field between two parallel planes that results without tilt.
Unlike most view cameras, the shift mechanism allows shifts along only one axis, and the tilt mechanism allows tilts about only one axis; however, the rotation of the mechanisms allows the orientations of the axes to be changed, providing, in effect, combined tilt and swing, and combined rise/fall andlateral shift. The tilt and shift functions cannot be independently rotated. The lens is supplied with these functions at 90° to each other (e.g., providing tilt and lateral shift); they can be changed to work in the same directions (e.g., providing tilt and rise/fall) by removing four screws, rotating the front of the lens 90°, and reinstalling the screws."

Couldn't had said it better myself…lol.

I wonder what still active and strong impact photographers like Salgado, Reza, Annie Leibowitz, Steve McCurry, James Nachtwey and the like have to say about this fad. I don't even want to think what the grand master old timers would say if they were around. If any of you above mentioned read this blog (wow, that would be something…!), would love to hear your comments please.


drue. said...

Wiki hits it bang on, i have always understood that tilt shift allows the functions of a view camera without having to lug around mass amounts of kit. Allows you to manipulate focal plane as well as perspective. Useful when shooting unlevel focus areas. Also allows you to straighten the lines of a building when shooting up from the ground... Had a lot of fun with the old view cameras back in the day. Was a hell of an adventure though.. 2 shots per film back and had to be loaded in the darkroom, not to mention about $5 a shot!!.

The current fad... guess it is kinda like giving a noctilux to the masses... they never know it existed but once discovered, they wore it out really quick fast and in a hurry. Kinds fits in with selective color, HDR and neon lights under cars in my mind.

Achieve the most you can in the camera and post only enough to obtain your vision.

-Straight Edge Photography- said...

Agree there my Doolie friend. Beauty is all in the eye of the beholder. But what is considered beauty is many times not what you have developed by yourself but what media, ads and fads tells you to. The minions fall flat on their faces and just swallow the pill of "easy-way-out" as always, don't wanna be left behind with their own demons of doubtful selective pinpointing thoughts. You're a freethinker and a self-made man so you know what I am talking about. See you come autumn.